Epiphany! Merriam-Webster defines epiphany as "a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way." I have been an IT professional for over 30 years and have seen my share of technology shifts: mainframes to minis, to micros, to client-server, to n-tier, to web, to hosted and so on. Recently, I had a moment. I believe I caught that transitional moment where a paradigm shift in document management was visible. I have been asked to write this blog to explore that vision and hopefully engage our audience for their input.
So, what did I see? I saw a shift in technology for document management that may reshape the vendor landscape. I have used many of the usual tools in my career. Recently, I was looking to replace a product that we manage for a New York-based health insurance company. I started looking at products from all the usual vendors. I don’t want to disparage them because they have been solid performers with established products for decades. I did my due diligence but found it similar to shopping for screw drivers at Home Depot. They all looked the same and required large investments to get off the ground, and my organization just did not have the appetite for that right now.
"I see these new players and technologies, especially cloud-based implementations, as the future of document management."
Some vendor products were struggling through modernization, undergoing transitions with new functionality coming soon. Another vendor at their user group announced a new unified client for their multiple products. No backend convergence, but we can look like we are converging. There were cloud announcements, albeit with limited functionality due to a conservative approach to risk. One vendor told me their product, which I was also running, was sunset, and I had to essentially repurchase their new architecture with a substantially reduced license in order to take advantage of go-forward features. Aside from some standard interfaces, it looked remarkably the same. All this left a bad taste and made me look elsewhere.
What I found were products I had barely heard of like Couchbase, MongoDB and, later, Amazon’s AWS and other NoSQL document databases. The more I saw the more I liked: built for Internet scale, globally capable, fast, running on open source commodity hardware and with free development environments on cloud-based infrastructure. This allows as limited a risk for entry as you can have. In the case of Couchbase, they partnered with Amazon for turnkey complete startup environments. To me, these were game changers, but they come with a whole new set of risks and worries that must be incorporated into your strategy: security, compliance, privacy and trusting your corporate secrets are safe. The big guys see this potential but are moving slowly. IBM, EMC, Oracle, Microsoft all have cloud offerings, with varying levels of product maturity. I see these new players and technologies, especially cloud-based implementations, as the future of document management. What do you think? Comment below or send us your comments, and let us know your thoughts. We want to know how you see it.
This is a special monthly blog in partnership with the DOCUMENT Strategy Forum. For more information on attending the DOCUMENT Strategy Forum, email jdunkel@EventEvolution.com or call 866-378-4991.